Intro-Local Officials | Intro-Citizens | How to Use | Community Challenge | Authors | Letter
Overview | Six Steps | Sample Timeline | One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six
Woodbridge Model | What Woodbridge Can Afford? | How Much Does Small Cost?
Glossary | Common Questions | Historic First | A Century of Support
In 2010, reformers in Merchantville, New Jersey founded “Merchantville Connecting for the Future” (MCF), a citizens’ organization seeking to merge the town with neighboring Cherry Hill. Local officials resisted the effort to create a consolidation study commission, forcing the group to seek alternative approval for the study through voter petition.
MCF’s undertaking marked the first time in New Jersey’s history that citizens obtained approval via voter petition. Below is a reflection from Bob
Stocker, one of the group’s founders:
“The economics of a town smaller than a square mile are untenable. My town of Merchantville (pop. 3800) was headed towards insolvency, increased taxes and reduced services. When a group of my neighbors organized and petitioned council to consider studying a merger with adjacent Cherry Hill we met a great deal of resistance. Only after consulting Courage to Connect NJ did our efforts gain traction. Without CTC-NJ we never would have known that regular citizens have the same right as elected officials to start a consolidation study. The organization brings the 2007 municipal consolidation law alive by informing and supporting local advocates. The group was there every step of the way helping with legal guidance, educating the public, and navigating state institutions.”